Niyantri Ravindran

College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Human Development and Family Science

Assistant Professor


Degree Field of Study Institution Graduation
Ph.D. Human Development and Family Studies University of Illinois 2018
M.S. Human Development and Family Studies University of Illinois 2016
B.A. Psychology University of Minnesota 2012


My research focuses on understanding the moment-to-moment dynamics of parent-child interaction during emotionally challenging situations in early childhood, at both behavioral and physiological levels. I examine factors that contribute to parents' responses to young children's negative emotions in real time, as well as how these parental responses promote or hinder children's developing ability to effectively manage negative emotions and stress. I am also interested in examining how sociocultural factors such as contextual stress shape the dynamics of parent-child interaction, and how these dynamics in turn contribute to children's long-term adjustment. To address my research questions, I use observational coding of laboratory tasks, naturalistic audio recordings of family interactions in the home, physiological assessments (e.g., RSA, EDA), and surveys, and I apply intensive longitudinal methods such as multilevel modeling to examine within- and between-person processes in parents and children.


HDFS 8840 Introduction to Multilevel and Growth Curve Modeling

HDFS 2300 The Science of Studying Human Development and Families

Prior Professional Positions

Organization Title Years of Service
Texas Tech University Assistant Professor 2020-2022
The Pennsylvania State University Postdoctoral Researcher 2018-2020

Editorial Appointments

Position Name of Journal Year(s)
Consulting Editor Developmental Psychology 2020-2022
Consulting Editor Journal of Family Psychology 2022-present

Areas of Expertise

Development of emotion and stress regulation; Emotion Socialization; Parent-child Interaction; Social Development

Journal Articles

Select publications:

Ravindran, N., McElwain, N. L., Berry, D., & Kramer, L. (2022). Dynamic fluctuations in maternal cardiac vagal tone moderate moment-to-moment associations between children's negative behavior and maternal emotional support. Developmental Psychology. Advance online publication.

Ravindran, N., Genaro, B. G., & Cole, P.M. (2021). Parental structuring in response to toddler negative emotion predicts children’s later use of distraction as a self-regulation strategy for waiting. Child Development. 92, 5, 1969-1983.

Ravindran, N., Zhang, X., Green, L.G., Gatzke-Kopp, L.M., Cole, P.M., & Ram, N. (2021). Concordance of mother-child respiratory sinus arrythmia is continually moderated by dynamic changes in emotional content of film stimuli. Biological Psychology (Invited submission to Special Issue: Biological, emotional, and behavioral concordance: Multi-level, multi-person approaches to health across the lifespan). 161, 108053.

Chen, X., McCormick, E. M, Ravindran, N., McElwain, N. L., & Telzer, E. H. (2020). Maternal emotion socialization in early childhood predicts adolescents’ amygdala-vmPFC functional connectivity to emotion faces. Developmental Psychology, (Special Issue: Parental Socialization of Emotion and Self-Regulation), 56, 503-515.

Ravindran, N., Berry, D. & McElwain, N. L. (2019). Dynamic bidirectional associations in negative behavior: Mother-toddler interaction during a snack delay. Developmental Psychology, 55, 1191-1198.

Ravindran, N., McElwain, N. L., Berry, D., & Kramer, L. (2018). Mothers’ dispositional distress reactivity as a predictor of maternal support following momentary fluctuations in children’s aversive behavior. Developmental Psychology, 54, 209-219.

Ravindran, N., Engle, J. M., McElwain, N. L., & Kramer, L. (2015). Fostering parents’ emotion regulation through a sibling-focused experimental intervention. Journal of Family Psychology, 29, 458-468.

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